Breakfast and Booktalks 2014
Margaret Aldrich of Wellesley Books discusses new and noteworthy books for Wellesley Middle School
Books for 6th Graders
Red Pencil by Andrew Davis Pinkney
After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosin
An eleven-year-old's world is upended by political turmoil in this "lyrically ambitious tale of exile and reunification" (Kirkus Reviews) from an award-winning poet, based on true events in Chile.
The Princess and the Foal by Kristin Levine
Princess Haya loves her family more than anything--especially her mother who brings light and happiness into King Hussein's house. So when Queen Alia is killed in a tragic accident, Princess Haya is devastated. Knowing how unhappy she is and how much she loves horses, Haya's father, King Hussein, gives her a special present: a foal of her very own. And this foal changes Princess Haya's world completely.
The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine
In a small town near Chicago in 1953, twelve-year-old Tommy faces escalating problems at home, among his Catholic school friends, and with the threat of a communist living nearby, but taking over his hospitalized sister's paper route introduces him to neighbors who he comes to rely on for help.
Arcady's Goal by Eurgene Yelchin
When twelve-year-old Arcady is sent to a children's home after his parents are declared enemies of the state in Soviet Russia, soccer becomes a way to secure extra rations, respect, and protection but it may also be his way out if he can believe in and love another person--and himself.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen
Eleven-year-old Gabriel, with the help of the young raven Paladin, with whom he has a magical bond, travels to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face challenges and unanswerable riddles to rescue his long-missing father.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its inhabitants are not quite what they seem. Soon, the children are confronted by a mysterious stranger--and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
Ellie's scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager--which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and P Craig Russell
Warned away from magic all of his life, Callum endeavors to fail the trials that would admit him to the Magisterium only to be drawn into its ranks against his will and forced to confront dark elements from his past.
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
At Greenglass House, a smuggler's inn, twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his winterholidays relaxing, but soon guests are arriving with strangestories about the house that send Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, on an adventure.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai's describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.
The Finest Hours by Michael J Tougias & Casey Sherman
On the night of February 18, 1952, during one of the worst winter storms that New England has ever seen, two oil tankers just off the shore of Cape Cod were torn in half by the force of the storm. Tells the story of a harrowing CoastGuard rescue when four men in a tiny lifeboat overcame insurmountable odds and saved more than 30 stranded sailors.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South
Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka
A star-studded group of award-winning nonfiction authors and journalists provides something for every reader, all aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Compiled and edited by real-life literature legend Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: True Stories is a mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, how-to guides, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.
Animalium by Katie Scott and Jenny Brown
Welcome to the Museum is a series of books set on the "walls" of the printed page, showcasing the world's finest collections of objects — from natural history to art. Open 365 days a year and unrestricted by the constraints of physical space, each title in this series is organized into galleries that display more than 200 full-color specimens accompanied by lively, informative text. Offering hours of learning, this first title within the series — Animalium -- presents the animal kingdom in glorious detail with illustrations from Katie Scott, an unparalleled new talent.
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
Jackson Greene has a reputation as a prankster at Maplewood Middle School, but after the last disaster he is trying to go straight--but when it looks like Keith Sinclair may steal the election for school president from Jackson's former best friend Gabriela, he assembles a team to make sure Keith does not succeed.
Bringing Down the Mouse by Ben Mezrich
Charlie Lewis is a nerd. All he's ever been good at is math—and he's really good at math. So good that he's recruited by a group of kids determined to game the system at the biggest theme park in the world—and win the grand prize. Soon Charlie is caught up in the excitement and thrill of using his math skills for awesomeness…but what's at stake may be more than he's willing to risk. How far will Charlie go for a chance at the ultimate reward?
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes diastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
Lucy, with her mother and her photographer father, has just moved to a small rural community in New Hampshire, and with her new friend Nate she plans to spend the summer taking photos for a contest, but pictures sometimes reveal more than people are willing to see.
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
Twelve-year-old Truly Lovejoy's family moves to a small town to take over a bookstore. Soon, she has to solve two mysteries involving a missing book and an undelivered letter
Rookie Bookie by LJ Wertheim
When seventh-grader Mitch Sloan moves to Jonasburg, Indiana, he uses his exceptional skills in math, money, and sports statistics to make friends--but gets in over his head when he starts a football betting ring
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Companion to: Smile. In graphic novel format, Raina Telgemeier shares the story of her relationship with her younger sister.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman's #1 New York Timesbestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper
Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team's favorite cars of all are lowriders--cars that hip and hop, dip and drop, go low and slow, bajito y suavecito. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash--just what the team needs to open their own shop! ¡Ay chihuahua! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe? With a glossary at the back to provide definitions for Spanish and science terms, this delightful book will educate and entertain in equal measure.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful--and very awkward--hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear, but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become "El Deafo, Listener for All."
Books for Seventh and Eighth Graders
Circle of Stones by Catherine Fisher
The mysterious Circus--a circular street of thirty houses--in Bath, England, provides the hub for three intertwining stories about a contemporary girl with a terrible past, an eighteenth-century architect obsessed with druids, and a prehistoric king who learns to fly.
West of the Moon by Margi Preus
In nineteenth-century Norway, fourteen-year-old Astri, whose aunt has sold her to a mean goatherder, dreams of joining her father in America.
Hunt for Bamboo Rat by Graham Salisbury
Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.
The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr
Kalinka, a Ukrainian Jewish girl on the run from the Nazis, finds unlikely help from two rare Przewalski horse
Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath
Inspired by a true story, this relates the tale of siblings Sosi, Shahen, and Mariam who survive the Armenian genocide of 1915 by escaping from Turkey alone over the mountains.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Impoverished Russian country girl Elena Rudina and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Adelina Amouteru survived the blood fever, a deadly illness that killed many, but left others with strange markings and supernatural powers. Cast out by her family, Adelina joins the secret society of the Young Elites and discovers her own dangerous abilities
Jackaby by William Ritter
Newly arrived in 1892 New England, Abigail Rook becomes assistant to R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with the ability to see supernatural beings, and she helps him delve into a case of serial murder which, Jackaby is convinced, is due to a nonhuman creature.
Noggin by John Corey Whaley
After dying at age sixteen, Travis Coates' head was removed and frozen for five years before being attached to another body, and now the old Travis and the new must find a way to coexist while figuring out changes in his relationships.
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Jam Gallahue, fifteen, unable to cope with the loss of her boyfriend Reeve, is sent to a therapeutic boarding school in Vermont, where a journal-writing assignment for an exclusive, mysterious English class transports her to the magical realm of Belzhar, where she and Reeve can be together.
D-Day: the invasion of Normandy by Rick Atkinson
Captures the events and the spirit of that D-Day, June 6, 1944, the day that led to the liberation of western Europe from Nazi Germany's control.
Women Heroes of World War I by Kathryn Atwood
Contains sixteen accounts of women who performed heroic feats in World War I as members of resisters and spies, medical personnel, soldiers, and journalists.
Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
Describes the fifty black sailors who refused to work in unsafe and unfair conditions after an explosion in Port Chicago killed 320 servicemen, and how the incident influenced civil rights.
Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince
The autobiography of Michaela DePrince, who lived the first few years of her life in war-torn Sierra Leone until being adopted by an American family. Now seventeen, she is one of the premiere ballerinas in the United States.
Contemporary Realistic Fictions
If You’re Reading This by Trent Reedy
For a responsible sixteen-year-old, Michael Wilson has a lot of problems--his father was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, his overworked and overprotective mother will not talk about their situation, and does not want him playing football, and he has suddenly started to receive letters that his father wrote before his death.
Get Happy by Mary Amato
On her birthday, Minerva, a sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter, hears from the father she has never known, and her placid life is turned upside down.
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
When best friends Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see 'To Kill A Mockingbird' included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic
Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohota
Twelve-year-old Jaden, an emotionally damaged adopted boy fascinated by electricity, feels a connection to a small, weak toddler with special needs in Kazakhstan, where Jaden's family is trying to adopt a "normal" baby.
Singular Menace I: Uncaged by John Standford
When an animal rights action at a research lab goes wrong, a terrible secret is exposed, and Shay must find her brother Odin before the researchers at Singular Corp can silence both of them
Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
With the help of an eccentric ex-governor, a teenaged boy searches for his missing cousin in the Florida wilds.
In the Shadows by Kiersten White
Minnie and Cora, sisters living in a sleepy Maine town in the nineteenth century, are intrigued by Arthur, a mysterious boy with no past who has come to live in their mother's boarding house--but something sinister is stirring and the teens must uncover the truth, and unlock the key to immortality.
Gaijin American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner
With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly realizes that his home in San Francisco is no longer a welcoming one after Pearl Harbor is attacked. And once he's sent to an internment camp, he learns that being half white at the camp is just as difficult as being half Japanese on the streets of an American city during WWII.
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew
In this origin story for the classic comic book hero the Green Turtle, Hank, the nineteen-year-old son of Chinese immigrants, resists his mother's attempts to make him a superhero at first, but when tragedy strikes he assumes the role of a caped crusader. Aided by one of the four spirits of Chinese mythology, Hank becomes the Green Turtle and sets out to rid Chinatown of the gangsters who have intimidated everyone for years and murdered his father.
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Rose and her parents go on vacation to Awago Beach like they do every year, but this year Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting and she turns to her friend Windy for help dealing with her troubled family life.